J.P. Morgan in a Car-Lending Chase

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is trying to make the car-buying process easier.

The largest U.S. bank by assets is planning to launch a new digital offering that lets customers shop for a car and secure financing on their computer or smartphone, potentially trimming some of the time spent in negotiations at the car dealership.

Known as Chase Auto Direct, the offering will be powered by TrueCar, a digital-car-buying service. This is the latest instance of a bank partnering with a financial-technology firm rather than facing off against them. The partnerships often speed up processes by integrating new, faster technology and broadening digital options for the consumer.

Late last year, J.P. Morgan partnered with On Deck Capital to create an online small-business loan for its customers. Unlike the OnDeck partnership, where the online lender’s name isn’t featured on the product, auto finance customers will begin on Chase.com, navigate to a TrueCar site and then return to the bank’s site to submit the loan application and secure financing.

Customers can find and figure out financing options for a new or used car and get approved for their loan on the bank’s website. They can also compare prices other consumers pay and are then given options among dealerships in the bank’s network.

If customers manage to knock some more off the car’s price at the dealership, there is a contracting tool that allows for slight changes, according to a J.P. Morgan spokeswoman. Additionally, the customer can still make changes to car features or add aftermarket products, like service contracts, but the pricing and terms will remain similar and the customer won’t have to start the financing process over, she added.

The bank’s effort to distinguish itself in the auto-lending market comes as this sort of debt surpassed $1 trillion earlier this year, according to credit-reporting firm Experian.

J.P. Morgan’s new auto offering will initially be available to existing customers in 30 U.S. states. The bank plans to roll out further phases early next year.

First appeared at WSJ